A Book About Whitey Bulger: Juror Janet Uhlar’s View of American Justice: 1/2

Janet Uhlar was a juror that sat in judgment of James “Whitey” Bulger during the penultimate act in the Whitey Saga. She sets out her experience from the first day she arrives at the federal court-house in Boston. She takes us through the early days of the trial going in, her mind a tabula rasa, we read along as she listens to the evidence and starts filling the empty slate based on what she is hearing.

It is an interesting trip to take with her. She would start to feel shocked at what she was experiencing the evidence as it came in. There were contradiction in what was being suggested; there were unexplained gaps. The trial bothered her so much she felt compelled not to let it go. It ran contrary to her idea of what in American justice was supposed to be about. She sought to understand more. What was she missing or was there something missing. She sought to talk with the parties involved. She would contact them by writing. Where possible she met with them to try to get a better understanding. She would eventually get in touch with Whitey and befriend him.

She wrote a book about her experience, “The Truth Be Damned”. She is a good writer. The book is an easy read. It is not her first book. In the past she wrote about early American history which she also taught to high school students. Those interested in a juror’s experience in court should find her story compelling; those interested in the Whitey saga will find much to turn over in their thoughts.

I first heard from Janet in a not-too-kind letter where she objected to something I had written on this blog. After that I met her for the only time. It had to be over three years ago. It was at a restaurant in Hyannis, MA where we had coffee. We spoke about our interest in the trial. She had visited Whitey by that time. I was interested in seeing what I could learn from her about it.

I too had hoped to meet with Whitey. I wrote to him. He responded telling me how to do it. I did what was suggested. I wrote back suggesting times I could go to Florida. I never heard from him again. In retrospect that was for the best. I really had no idea what I wanted to learn from him that I already did not have a good sense about. Uhlar’s book would reinforce that belief.

She didn’t offer much about her talk with Whitey which she would set out in her book. Some of what I remember is we discussed my time in the Norfolk District attorney’s office working as DA Bill Delahunt’s deputy, her family and a tragedy in her life, and little more. My memory is we talked about the subjects but the specifics had long gone. I could not quote one thing she said. If I were under oath required to  set out in detail what either one of us specifically said I’d be indicted for perjury because I couldn’t do it.

Oh, yes, I do recall one thing. When I mentioned Delahunt she indicated she knew him. She said she went to him to get some type of assistance for her mother. He was very helpful. We parted after an hour or so on friendly terms. I would hear from her on occasion when she would comment on something I wrote on the blog.

(cont. tomorrow)

9 thoughts on “A Book About Whitey Bulger: Juror Janet Uhlar’s View of American Justice: 1/2

  1. All good points . ” I am going to fucking shoot you if you don’t stop ” is certainly some kind of warning that would seem to dictate surrender. This is the tickler, though, for you are saying it to someone who has elected to flee rather than engage in gunfire with the gun he is, apparently, witnessed as carrying . The justification for the Deadly Force is that he could be presumed to wheel around at any instance and shoot.

    When I was seventeen I got in a scrape with Dedham Police at three a.m. exactly one block from the police station and 300 feet from where Matt used to earn his bread and Bill Delahunt would dip his crust in his morning coffee. With the vigor of the young and the arguably crazy, at that time, I managed to … extricate ….myself from the wolfpack of angry and restraining officers . Sergeant Greenwood , a neighbor, was instrumental in my getting to my feet ,however, as I told him Officer M. was breaking my arm. I broke out, Officer M. apparently got kneed in the groin inadvertently as I did so , and Officer M. shot … once….. at me. They turned that Town upside down that night looking, without success, for me , and beat the guy who they caught with me throughout the night.

    He was from West Roxbury.

    Got a chuckle out of your saying that you have hit the deck, wisely, when ordered. Discretion and all …

    GOOD TIMES !!!

    1. Most of the stories I have from my past that involve police end well. Humorously, in fact. A couple of times thrown against a wall and a smack or two to the face that I deserved. I never begrudge a cop for taking an extra precaution or two. They have a ridiculously dangerous job.

      One of my best friends from up near the Milton/Hyde Park line is currently a warden in western North Carolina. (Matt knows his father.) His job is one that I thought I would love to have when I was younger. Not any more. Most of the people he confronts are armed and quite often drunk, belligerent and in the act of poaching. Breaking the law. Too many variables that may lead to a negative encounter for me. Can’t pay those guys enough.

  2. Minnesota Deadly Force shooting …. Black man named Blevins ….. Just watched video …. Was not aware shooting a fleeing suspect in the back because he appeared to have a gun was Kosher.

    Video from bodycam .

    What do you do ? … Not how it should have been handled, I believe. Guy was pleading for his life. Police got call of man brandishing. As they pull up he is near a woman and baby …unrelated…..he bolts. Five chase . Two shoot . About 10 shots. Dead.

    Yet, do you put a couple of young cops on trial for murder or manslaughter when they did not wake up in the morning expressly to gun down a young black man ? ….. The call comes, the perp looks lively, the testosterone kicks in and in a ….. BLINK ( Great book btw about experience and response in crisis situations) … the guy is killed. And the shooting ,somehow, while legally supportable perhaps …looks … bogus. And yet is it ? …. It is all about the . … BLINK !!!

    BLM conducts its business in a way that loses them support among people. Yet, they have a legitimate issue. The cops do too, however.

    Violent business, that .

    1. I shoot him in the back of his leg. That’s all. I saw the video just now. Why did he run yelling don’t shoot me? Why not just stop and hit the ground face down? I have.

      How about this? Back in 1994 a homeless man in front of the White House has a knife. Police surround him. He just stands there and holds the knife. There is no chase. Everyone is motionless. From about ten feet away he is shot in the stomach. That was poor judgement on the cop’s part. From ten feet away the could have shot him in the left big toe. Why the guts?

      Violent business is right.

  3. Hi Matt –What I enjoyed most was the “fictional” names Janet used for the unlawfully-jailed FBI agent, “Skip Gott” and the so-called Boston “journalist “Nick Mudd”.

    How appropriate !!!

    1. Nick Mudd? Any relation to Doctor Mudd? The one Jimmy Carter pardoned for splinting Booth’s leg.

  4. one thing I gleaned from Janet’s writings on this blog is that she had latched on to the anti-FBI propaganda propogated by Wyshak, the Globe, Cullen, Carr and somewhat by Dershowitz . . . she failed to apprehend . . .or at least never mentioned the witch hunt against conservatives, Southie people in general and Bill Bulger in particular . . .she seemed blind to that aspect of the Sterns Gang’s Operation . . . Sterns, Durham, Wyshak and other federal prosecutors who’ve abused power . . . .of course she may have been bedazzled by the prosecutors’ three piece suits, the black-robed judge, and the polished woodwork inside the Federal Courthouse thinking everything the FEDs fed her (the jury) was legit and on the level. . .

    Look forward to your analysis . . .

    1. She … May have been bedazzled ?

      She don’t strike one as easily dazzled !

      Belittling stereotypes aside, still have the feeling that a conversation is being reported, but not anything about what the conversation actually concerned.

      Rather vague.

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